Early Childhood Education for a better New Orleans. Are you on board Madame Mayor to invest in early childhood education?

When votes were cast in the New Orleans Mayoral primary election and the runoff was set, I could not have been more excited and proud. The runoff on November 18, 2017 will be between two women giving New Orleans its first woman to be elected mayor in its almost 300 hundred year history. Since the results of the primary election, I have seen many reactions to this historic accomplishment. The overwhelming sentiment is this is the worst election New Orleans has ever seen.  People are disappointed these women are the best candidates New Orleans has to offer. I must say, that I, in no way, shape or form agree with that sentiment.

I have been excited and elated dreaming of what this historic election has to offer. First, I can imagine what every little girl in our city and surrounding areas will gain from seeing a woman in charge of such a powerful city. Young girls and women will be able to experience the possibilities of obtaining a key position in city decision making.

Secondly, it is yet again another chance for our city to embrace another beginning. In 2018, New Orleans will be celebrating its tricentennial – 300 years of evolution and significance in this world. New Orleans has played such an instrumental part in the development of this nation and I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate such a grand event than by putting a woman in charge of leading this great city into the right direction.

Lastly and definitely most important in my mind is education; it is what I’m so passionate about. I truly couldn’t dream of a better leader to hand control of my city to than an African-American woman. I just happen to know a few African-American women and I know they are nurturers by design. They possess so much compassion in their hearts and they have hearts of gold with loving souls. That’s exactly what we are going to need to turn this great city around. That turnaround has to happen with investments in the people of New Orleans and one investment I believe should be in the forefront is allocating municipal funds into the development of more early childhood seats at qualified providers throughout our city.

Let me make something completely clear. I am talking about quality state approved early childhood seats that will aid in the development of our children prior to kindergarten. There is evidence shown that children benefit from instructional learning in their early years. The development of better emotional, social and physical skills is generally enhanced with access to early childhood education. I am talking about a long-term investment into our future, an investment that will payoff now and later. Now, it would free up parents to be able to go to work knowing their child is in a worthy program and it will also develop parent involvement early on in a child’s life. Later, I believe it will develop a better citizenry, one with social skills to deal with the problems of today. Problem-solving in a manner that doesn’t involve violence, but solutions through dialogue and conversation. I believe early access to early childhood education will lead to a future advancement of our workforce along with developing a strong group of entrepreneurs in our city.

Overall, it may be said that several of our local and state leaders have similar sentiments about access to early childhood education. In a guest column article to The Advocate, Gen. Russel Honoré expressed his thoughts and support for early childhood education access, “A local government’s budget is often a blueprint of priorities. It is little wonder that New Orleans struggles with violent crime and economic opportunity when we consider the fact that less than 3 percent of the City of New Orleans municipal budget goes to serving families and children.”

OPSB School Board member Ethan Ashley penned an open letter to both mayoral candidates asking for increased support across the board at the municipal level for investing in our kids which includes early childhood education access. Making this significant statement as well, “Our future is directly tied to our children and whether we acknowledge it or not, everything that we do is intended to enhance their development.”

Just recently the New Orleans City Council following the direction of its Council Members-At-Large held a news conference dedicating $750,000 to invest in early childhood education. It is something that is unprecedented but the council members identify the importance in investing in its citizens, “This is about us putting our most vulnerable folks on the best track of success that we possibly can,” Councilman Jason Williams said.

So now that the stage is set and the writing is on the wall I would look to the greatest creation ever (woman) to seal the deal with that nurturing spirit, compassionate heart, and loving soul. Would you be on board and in agreement to invest in our most precious resource? What say, you Madame Mayor?

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